Alan Lomax – assiduous field recorder, and arguably the greatest musical archivist of the 20th century – is to have his fascinating collection of Sacred Harp gospel reissued.   

In recent years, classic Lomax material has been issued by the Global Jukebox label, which operates as an arm of the Alan Lomax Archive. Recent treats have included Jail House Bound, a collection of US prison recordings from 1993 (produced with Lomax’s father John), and Whaur The Pig Gaed On The Spree, which documented Lomax’s trips to Scotland in the 1950s.

As Ad Hoc report, the label are now primed to reissue Lomax’s recordings of Alabama’s United Sacred Harp Convention. The new package collects 18 tracks, nine of which will be reaching public ears for the first time. The songs in question were plucked from a pool of over 200 recordings, and showcase a strand of exuberant white gospel that still sounds remarkably singular – har-edged, twangy, and, in comparison to African American church music, strangely mechanical in its rapture.

United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings 1959 is due on February 12. A fascinating example of what to expect is below.



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